Following advice from the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) that the rate peg for the 2022/23 financial year will be 1.2% for Wingecarribee, Council will now apply for 0.8% through a special variation to secure the full 2% as forecast in Council’s adopted Long Term Financial Plan.
“Council’s Delivery Program and Operational Plan, created with the community provides for a 2% rate revenue increase for next financial year and, without these funds, Council will not be able to deliver works and services the community asked for,” said Interim Administrator Mr Viv May PSM.
“This application will ensure we have sufficient funds to pay for required infrastructure and community services.”
Within the Interim Administrator’s Minute tabled at the Council’s Ordinary Meeting on Wednesday night, Mr May explained how applying for the gap between IPART’s determined rate peg of 1.2% and the adopted rate of 2% would ensure that $425,000 in funds could be put to use in the community.
“The reality is our Shire is faced with numerous unique challenges that have been critically highlighted during the recent wet weather events.” Mr May said.
“The large geographic area of our Shire coupled with our vast infrastructure network and relatively low ratepayer population place considerable pressures on service delivery.”
The Minute explained how the Wingecarribee Shire had received a total of 1.2% standard rate peg by the IPART.
“CPI increases (3.5%) and wage growth alone is more than the 1.2% baseline rate peg set by the IPART.”
“Meaning that without an adjustment, a lot of planned work could not be undertaken.”
Mr May said now was not the time to cut services.
“Now is the time to re-consider Council’s priorities to better reflect what our residents told us they want through the budget and Operational Plan process.”
Following Council’s Meeting on 16 March, an application will be submitted to the IPART for an additional 0.8% to secure the full 2% rate increase to ensure that programs such as community grants, essential road works or economic development programs are not adversely impacted.
IPART will publish applications as part of community consultation before a final determination on the increase is made in June 2022. Confirmation of the increase by the IPART would see the Special Rate Variation applied to rates from 1 July 2022 onwards.